Monday 19 March 2018

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Cork Independent


Game On

Monday, 5th March, 2018 9:48am

Cork vs Tipperary

Three defeats on the bounce has heaped a bit of pressure on John Meyler’s men as they face a game where even a win might not get them a place in the last eight as they are dependent on results elsewhere.

A defeat will consign them to a relegation playoff, most likely against Waterford, but irrespective of the opposition Cork will have home advantage as the rules dictate that if you have only two home games in the group phase, you get the right to play at home.

Tipperary looked very impressive in their thrilling encounter against Kilkenny and that would suggest there are in a better position than Cork right now, the fact that they also need a win to get a Quarter-Final spot will make Cork’s task that bit harder.

Cork will be without the suspended Seamus Harnedy, and almost certainly the injured Conor Lehane, that will seriously weaken an attack that is really not functioning at full throttle right now, Patrick Horgan the exception.

The composition of the Cork team will be interesting and it is likely that Darragh Fitzgibbon will return from injury and that Mark Coleman will have benefited from the 70 minutes he got under his belt last Sunday.

Tim O’Mahoney, Bill Cooper and Mark Ellis all played well in patches against Waterford, but the lack of a consistent performance must be a worry, it has happened in the last three games and with time running out the management will hope to get one on Sunday.

Michael Ryan, while disappointed at losing so narrowly last week, has a number of players to return from Fitzgibbon Cup duty, the prolific Jason Forde among them, on current form the odds favour a win for Tipperary.

Cork vs Meath

A meeting between two teams seriously searching for an improvement in form, and two points that would ease their relegation worries, while at the same time keep alive their, at this stage slim hopes of promotion.

In fact Ronan Mc Carthy made that very point in a post match interview: “Let’s worry about the next match and forget about promotion for the time being.”

The disappointing aspect of last Sunday’s loss, was the very poor return of just 0-11 and the inability to break down Cavan’s defensive set up, which paid dividends in the end and they returned home deserving winners.

To be fair to the management in an effort to rectify their problems and there was many, they made four changes at half-time, one enforced with the injury to Michael Hurley, but it made little difference.

Meath are also struggling for form, and like Cork were beaten by Tipperary comfortably in Thurles, but they will surely be better in front their home support who can be very critical of their efforts, which have not been good in recent years.

Andy McEntee will look for a huge improvement and to players like Padraig McKeever, Sean Tobin, Graham Reilly and Brian Menton and will be hard to beat at the compact Navan venue.

Mark Collins has been Cork’s most consistent performer, along with Sean White, Ian Maguire and Tomas Clancy, but an all round improvement is required.

Cork did win in Newry on their last road trip, but can they repeat it remains to be seen, and with only two games left after Sunday, time and matches are running out.

Of course all these games are weather dependent and with free weekends few and far between in the coming weeks the GAA will be hoping that they can survive, otherwise there will some work needed to complete the schedule ahead of the knock-out phase of both competitions.


It’s a relatively quite weekend, with Midleton CBS hoping to re-ignite their All-Ireland ambitions when the travel to the WIT Grounds on Saturday at 2.45pm for a Quarter-Final clash with Kilkenny CBS.

While fresh from their win over Westmeath, the Cork Ladies Footballers make the long trip Donegal, if the snow allows them, in a league as they look set to secure their place in the last eight.

Frank Norberg RIP

The former Cork and Blackrock hurler passed away last week after a lengthy illness.

Frank was described to me as a 'very effective defender who had a great knack of dispossessing forwards without fouling’ and he served Blackrock with distinction.

A name you would always associate with the ‘Rockie’s he had a remarkable record winning five Senior County Medals, four Munster and three All-Ireland club titles in a golden era for the club.

With Cork he won Under 21 Munster and All-Ireland Medals and in 1972 as captain he won NHL and Munster Championship medals as the Rebels lost to Kilkenny in a very high scoring All-Ireland Final.

Sincere sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in the Blackrock Hurling Club.

Ar Dheis De Ar a Anam Dilis.

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